Underserved is a new recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you’re not ordering.
What: The Islay Swizzle with Monkey Shoulder, Mahina Coco, lemon, passion fruit, bitters, and Lagavulin 16-year-old whiskey
Where: Farmers Fishers Bakers, 3000 K St. NW
What You Should Be Drinking
A tiki drink that shuns rum in favor of two types of Scotch may raise eyebrows at Founders Fishers Bakers, where tropical drinks are the specialty. Despite customers’ lack of interest, Beverage Director Jon Arroyo is too stubborn to take it off the menu. The name, Islay Swizzle, is a nod to the drink’s float of Lagavulin whiskey, which hails from the island of Islay where Scotch is generously peated. Monkey Shoulder, a blended Scotch, forms the base of the cocktail. Arroyo says two Scotches are used because it would be both overpowering and a waste to use a single-malt like Lagavulin throughout the whole drink. “If I’m making a cocktail with a nice single-malt, I’m just putting an ice cube in it,” he quips. The secret ingredient is the Mahina Coco liqueur. Arroyo discovered it on a trip to the Rhum Clément distillery in Martinique and convinced them to export it to the U.S. It’s delicate, unlike other coconut liqueurs, which taste like Banana Boat smells. The Mahina Coco plays well with the passion fruit syrup.
Why You Should Be Drinking It
Much to the chagrin of tiki drink connoisseurs, Scotch actually works. Swizzles are traditionally served in tall glasses over pebbled ice in order to dilute the big bold flavors. “When you think about Scotch it works the same way—you add a little water and it starts to open up,” Arroyo says. A leisurely taste test confirms the Islay Swizzle only gets better with time. If you’re around friends who don’t judge table manners, mimic the motion of an oil drill to make the most out of this cocktail. Start with your straw on the surface to suck up some of the Lagavulin resting on top before swooping down until your straw hits rock bottom. That’ll ensure you get a balanced gulp marrying all of the components.